This article is motivated by the fact that people who were born on or after May 17 1994 are not adults, although some have children now. May 17 1994 is when Malawian voted in Bakili Muluzi’s United Democratic Party (UDF), and the exit of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as the governing party of this country. It is difficult for me to imagine what the people who were born in 1994 or after think about the country.
Now, while it is easy to think that those born after 1994 may have missed a part of the country to the extent that their views may be affected by this, I am also inclined to challenge those of you, dear readers, who may have lived in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I am giving you some names as below, and you gauge to what extent you know about these people such that you can hold a conversation with others about them (the names).
The first group of names are: Edda Chitalo, E.F. Mtika, B. A. Chirwa, Robson Chirwa, Orton Chirwa, Fern Favele Sadyalunda, Jean Mlanga, Wadson Bini Deleza, Dalton Katopola, Mfunjo Mwanjasi Mwakikunga, Maxwell Katayeni Pashane, Thomas Phaiya, Augustine Bwanausi, Willie Chokani, Kanyama Chiume, Masauko Chipembere, Aleke Banda, John Tembo, Louis Chimango, Eston Sambo, Michael Mlambala, Gwanda Chakuamba, Gomile Kuntumanje, Aaron Elliot Gadama, Albert Muwalo, Richard Chidzanja Nkhoma, Kapichila Banda, Kapichila Mussa and Rose Chibambo. All these names are people who served under Kamuzu Banda as full Cabinet ministers or deputy ministers.
From 1994, the names that Bakili Muluzi brought into his Cabinet included Joseph Kubwalo, Brown Mpinganjira, Weynam Nakanga, Collins Chizumila, Alufeo Chilibvumbo, Edda Chitalo, Rabson Makuwira, Catherine Chipembere, Sam Mpasu, Edward Bwanali, Dumbo Lemani, Matembo Nzunda, Kate Kainja-Kaluluma, Lizzie Lossa, Lillian A. Patel, Chenda Mkandawire, Lyana Tambala, Patricia Kaliati, Martha Nasho, Susan Chitimbe, Elizabeth Lamba, Ken Lipenga, Mary Kaphwereza Banda, Alice Sumani, Abdul Pillane, Rolf Patel, Harry Thomson, Patrick Mbewe and Peter Fatch. There are others who I have intentionally left out. However, can you gauge how much you know about your country?
After President Muluzi, came Bingu wa Mutharika, who brought into Cabinet Anna Kachikho, Majorie Ngaunge, Ortria Moyo Jere, Theresa Gloria Mwale, Annie Lemani, Catherine Gotani Hara, Vera Faramenga Chilewani, Etta Banda, Anita Kalinde, Nasrine Pillane, Grace Maseko, Rachel Mazombwe Zulu, Halima Daud, Ken Kandodo, Sidik Mia and others. To what extent are you comfortable to write a page on these people?
Do you know the name Thomas Gombera? Maybe not, and you will be forgiven for that. Mr Thomas Gombera was the first black or native police detective in this country. This was what was later written about Mr Gombera in the early 1960s: “An African Sergeant-at-Arms has been appointed for the first time to the Nyasaland Legislative Council. He is 63-year-old Inspector Thomas Gombera of the Nyasaland Police…. He is the first African Sergeant-at-Arms in Central Africa, if not in the whole of Africa.” Do you know the first officer-in-charge of your local police, the first headmistress or headmaster of the school you went to? Who was the first pastor of your church? n